Do you have nomophobia?

Christine - posted on 11/02/2015 ( 7 moms have responded )




I confess I do. You probably do too. My kids definitely do.

In a recent article for Zondervan Christian Living, Craig Groeschel admits he has it too.

Quoting Psychology Today, nomophobia is “the fear of being without a mobile device, or beyond mobile phone contact.”

Lest you minimize this phenomenon, Groeschel goes on to tell us the following:

The average adolescent would rather lose a pinky-finger than their cell phone.

66% of adults feel extreme anxiety if they lose connection with their mobile device.

More than half of the people who use a mobile device begin to feel upset when it’s not with them.

Being older than the average bear here, I have some perspective on this. Back in the early days of practicing law, we had pagers. The holder of the pager would get buzzed by the pager and that was a signal to get to a phone and call in for a (hopefully important) matter. It was clunky and you still had to be able to get to a phone.

Having the pager for the weekend was dreaded. You didn’t want it because you knew your weekend flow of fun and relaxation would be interrupted. But we all took turns and were professional about it.

Today, there is no escape from the demands of work or clients. Everyone knows your cell number and can call, text or message you with ease. Therefore, everything that someone might want to talk to you about becomes elevated in importance because the message can be transmitted so easily. Even if you wanted to turn off the pager for an afternoon, you can’t.

My husband can take or leave his smartphone. He clearly needs it for work, but if he forgets it, he’s not ruffled or bent out of shape. When we go on vacation, he tries to not even turn it on.

As for me, I have developed nomophobia. I have to be able to text the kids, my sisters and brothers and a few friends. If I can’t, I begin to feel the discomfort of disconnection.

If my cell phone was used only for texting those I care about, maybe I could use it more wisely. But while I can use it responsibly, I can also go on social media, play games, read Kindle books, write notes, listen to music – I even have an app where I can listen to sermons from church on my phone.

Do I NEED a cell phone? I’m not sure. I’m so dependent on it to update, inform and amuse me that I don’t know if I could do without it.

I wouldn’t give a pinky-finger for it, but I sure like it.

One night at dinner, I was (gasp!) looking at my phone. Just for a sec. I didn’t think anyone even noticed.

My wise 18-year-old son said, “You don’t deserve a smart phone. You should get a Jitterbug.”

Maybe he’s right. Maybe I am at the place in life where I need to lift my head up from the cell phone, look people in the face, and talk to them. Really communicate. Have that clunky old-people’s phone with the big numbers for emergencies. Savor the moments, especially with the kids because they’re all nearly grown.

One of the crew had a birthday recently and, as is our tradition, we all went to our favorite Italian restaurant. Settled at the table I was going to announce that I planned to renounce the hold that nomophobia had on my life. I would look to my higher power to overcome.

I raised my head to speak to the gathering of family and they were all looking down at their cell phones.

Should we renounce the preoccupation, or just join in?

Where do you stand?

Christine Field


Jodi - posted on 11/02/2015




Personally, I think it is questionable that it should be listed as a "phobia". A phobia is an actual anxiety disorder, whereas for the average person, it is actually just normal anxiety, not "phobic" anxiety. So really, for the average person who has a mobile phone, to label them nomophobic is really a misuse of the term "phobia".

Sarah - posted on 11/03/2015




Phobia: an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
Addicted or dependent upon I think applies to most cell phone users you see with their noses to their phone as they shop, drive, eat or even use the toilet. This is my husband. He gets scolded by the kids for having his phone out while we watch TV as a family, or at the dinner table (a number one no-no in my house)


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Christine - posted on 11/20/2015




All good points! Maybe nomo-discomfort-and-feeling-disconnected is better. You're right, phobia is a strong word and I know how devastating they can be!

Dove - posted on 11/03/2015




Oh... but I 100% agree w/ what Jodi said about labeling it as a phobia... it really makes 'light' of the people that have REAL phobias. You can have fear and anxiety over something w/out it being phobia level.

Dove - posted on 11/03/2015




lol No. I don't have a fear of being w/out my mobile phone. I DO make sure it is w/ me at all times when any one of my 3 children are not w/ me, but that's because I am a single mom and my cell phone is the only way to contact me. I hardly ever use my phone. I DO spend a lot of time on my computer at home, but I'm disabled and really can't do much else. Whenever I am out of the house though... no computer.

I do think there are a LOT of people that this applies to though.

Raye - posted on 11/03/2015




I'm fine without being on my smart-phone for days at a time. My husband is a little more dependent on it.

I have a real phobia... and I can tell you that a phobia is an intense irrational fear, and not the same as anxiety over being disconnected from e-devices. That's more an addiction and withdrawal.

Emily - posted on 11/02/2015




Thanks for sharing, Christine. You’ve given us some “food for thought.”

While I’m not completely addicted to my cell phone, I must admit that I’m quite dependent on it. Be it texting, calling, social media, listening to music or sermons – it has taken communication to the next level. I think the need to be in touch is very demanding in today’s culture.

About 6 months back I had lost my phone and did not get an immediate replacement. I survived without a cellphone for 7 days. I did feel handicapped but it’s not impossible :). Also, I feel we can certainly discipline ourselves by not using the cell phone when we’re spending time with our loved ones or while speaking to people.

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